Coronavirus: Donald Trump 'terminates' relationship with World Health Organisation

Chris Robertson, news reporter
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 29: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about U.S. relations with China, at the White House May 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump did not take questions regarding the current situation in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd and todays arrest of Derek Chauvin the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for an extended time causing him to die. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has announced that the US will be "terminating its relationship" with the World Health Organisation.

Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House, and amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic , the US president said he wants to redirect funds into other organisations, as part of an anti- China address.

He announced he would issue a proclamation that would secure research at US universities - a move which will mean the US relies on its own science, rather than that of the global health body.

Mr Trump has spent weeks taking aim at the WHO, accusing them of not acting fast enough on the coronavirus outbreak.

The president claimed in his speech on Friday that China had "total control" over the organisation, and that the country pressured the WHO to mislead the world during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 .

The US is the biggest single contributor to the World Health Organisation, paying in around $450m (£360m), with Mr Trump saying that China only contributed around $40m (£32m).

President Trump's move is expected to significantly weaken the organisation while it is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also doubled down on blaming China for the COVID-19 outbreak, calling it the "Wuhan virus", and saying the country is responsible for the more than 100,000 US deaths.

The commander-in-chief also criticised China over it's stance on Hong Kong, adding that the city is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant special treatment from the US, and will revise its travel advice to the region, warning of increased risk of surveillance.

The US will also take steps to sanction officials from Hong Kong who have been involved in "eroding" the autonomy of the region.

China is set to introduce legislation in Hong Kong that would crack down on the anti-government protests in the city, concerning activists and governments that Beijing is chipping away at the "one country, two systems" principle, that outlines the region's autonomy.

It was expected that Mr Trump would also use the press conference to speak about the death of George Floyd and clarify his controversial comments on Twitter, in which he threatened to shoot protesters who had been looting in the riots in Minneapolis.

However, he left the stage before taking any questions from the press.